History of the Holiday
Christmas is a Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. Christians believe Christ is the son of God. No one knows the exact date of Christ's birth so in the 4th Century, Pope Julius I chose December 25th.
Celebrations Around the World
Christmas is celebrated worldwide in a variety of ways:
- In Brazil a turkey dinner is made on Christmas Eve and Saint Nicholas brings presents for children on December 6th.
- Christmas is a three-day event in Finland, starting with rice porridge and plum fruit juice Christmas Eve morning. Many families also visit cemeteries and put candles on the graves of family members.
- In Portugal, Father Christmas leaves gifts under the tree or in shoes by the fireplace. The special dinner is usually salted cod fish with boiled potatoes and is eaten at midnight on Christmas Eve.
What's the Deal With Santa?
But where did Santa come from? In the 4th century a shy bishop in Turkey named Saint Nicholas would leave goodies for children. Dutch children called him Sinter Klass and made it a tradition to put shoes by the fireplace to put gifts in. Dutch settlers told the legend of Sinter Klaas when they came to North America and he quickly became known as Santa Claus.
In North America, the Santa we know today is a grandfatherly man with a round belly, a bushy white beard and a red and white suit. Santa used to wear a lot of different colored suits but Coca-Cola popularized the red outfit that he wears today. Artist Haddon Sundblom began drawing Santa Claus for a Coca-Cola ad campaign in 1930.
Have Your Say
Do you believe there is a Santa? If not, why not? Do you hang up stockings, put shoes by the fire or leave treats out for him? What are some of the ways you celebrate Christmas? Let us know by leaving your comment below!